John McDonnell: 'I think we’ve got a long way to go in developing the proposal and the argument but I think we can win the argument on it' [Image: Getty].

John McDonnell: ‘I think we’ve got a long way to go in developing the proposal and the argument but I think we can win the argument on it’ [Image: Getty].


There are big questions about the Universal Basic Income project – and they need to be answered.

Principle among these is how much would be paid, and how would a government ensure it kept up with the cost of living?

What would happen if the economy suffered a downturn? How would it be supported?

And what would happen if a government came into office that did not support the policy – such as the Conservatives?

The last issue is the basic problem with all social reforms legislated by Labour; the instant the Conservative Party gets back into government, the dismantling process begins and we’re all back to Square One.

The notable exception has been the NHS, but after nearly 40 years of neoliberalism, they have launched an attack on even that – under a strategy of denying the consequences of their actions.

For this – or any social gain – to take hold, it seems we need a fundamental change in the way government is allowed to rule.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has insisted he can “win the argument” on universal basic income – a radical idea to transform the welfare state – within the Labour party.

The Hayes and Harlington MP said the policy could tackle issues related to poverty and simplify the welfare state.

Universal basic income would involve ditching means-tested benefits in favour of an unconditional flat-rate payment to all citizens, whether they are in work or out of work.

In the Canadian province of Ontario, plans to trial the concept are underway after a budget statement declared: “As Ontario’s economy grows, the government remains committed to leaving no one behind.”

Source: John McDonnell: I will win the argument to give every citizen in the UK a basic income | The Independent

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